Several months of negotiations between two major North American safety certification organizations, the CSA International (CSA) and Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), has resulted in an agreement that streamlines the certification process for electrical manufacturers. As a result, the two have adopted an expanded memorandum of understanding (MoU) and completed the first phase of a mutual acceptance program for electrical components—the first milestone of an agreement the two organizations inked late last year.
While this agreement is designed to assist manufacturers in getting their products to Canadian and U.S. markets more quickly, without redundant testing, it has much greater appeal. Since UL works closely with European agencies such as VDE, as well as with certification organizations in Asia, it hopes to attract similar groups from overseas to offer a global one-stop shop in the future. In the meantime, the two players must cooperate closely to make this program operable in North America.
“The expanded MoU and the mutual acceptance program are part of UL’s overall drive to help manufacturers get safer products to market faster,” said Gus Schaefer, UL’s senior vice president and COO for the United States and Canada. “We are committed to ensuring that these objectives are met. The fundamental goal is to meet the needs of our clients without compromising the integrity of our marks,” added Schaefer. “We will follow up inspections to maintain the integrity of UL mark.”
With the completion of the first phase of the component agreement, CSA and UL now accept several component categories for use in low-voltage distribution and industrial control equipment. Under the agreement, as many as 52 additional component categories and 11 additional end-product categories are being considered.
In announcing the successful completion of Phase 1 implementation activities, Grant Carter, CSA Group VP of marketing and communications, said "We are pleased with the continued support of our industry colleagues and impressed by UL’s positive cooperation to meet our joint commitment to implementing Phase 1 on time. With that cooperation, we are moving forward with urgency to implement the remaining phases of these accords so that many electrical manufacturers can benefit from a more efficient, yet highly rigorous, product testing and certification process without undue delay."
According to NEMA President Malcolm O’Hagan, “The mutual component acceptance program is increasing the competitiveness of our electrical manufacturers by reducing costs and clearing the path to market. The expansion of the agreement by UL and CSA is commendable. We encourage the two organizations to continue with this cooperative effort.”
Phase 1 end products include transfer switches, combination motor controllers, industrial control panels, motor control centers, panel boards, power conversion equipment, power outlets and power outlet fittings, switchboards, dead front, and switchgear assemblies. Phase 1 categories of components include fuse holders, cartridge type and plug; fuse accessories; ground-fault sensing and relaying equipment; industrial control panels; combination motor controllers; miscellaneous lamp holders; meter socket bases and accessories; panel board and switchboard accessories; supplementary protectors; relay sockets and assemblies; switches, molded case; terminal blocks; auxiliary devices; motor controllers, float-and pressure; motor controllers, magnetic; motor controllers, manual; motor controllers, miscellaneous; industrial control, miscellaneous apparatus; programmable controllers; protective relays; switches; and industrial control.